Colorado’s Perlmutter, Lamborn sworn in to Congress
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON ” Surrounded by family and friends, greeted by supportive fellow lawmakers and toting at least one family Bible, Colorado’s two newest House members officially took the oath of office and joined Congress Thursday.
Republican Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs, and Democrat Ed Perlmutter of Golden, promised to work across the aisle with members of the opposite party.
But, in what could be a sign of things to come, they split their first vote ” siding with their parties in the election for speaker of the House. And while Perlmutter is supportive of a slew of initiatives Democrats hope to pass in the first 100 hours, Lamborn criticized the Democrats’ plans to push through legislation without extensive debate.
“I think the American people should be disappointed,” Lamborn said. “I am.”
In the first several weeks of Congress, Democrats hope to pass a minimum wage increase, ethics reforms and a repeal of tax breaks for oil companies, among other things.
Perlmutter said he supports one measure in particular, which would help change the country’s focus on an oil-based energy system to one that also emphasizes alternative sources of energy.
But Lamborn said he thinks “there’s no overriding sense of cohesiveness” to the package of bills Democrats want to pass. “I’m trying to find something I can support,” he said.
Democrats took over Congress with a slim majority this year. Similarly, when Perlmutter officially replaced retired Republican Rep. Bob Beauprez on Thursday, Colorado’s congressional delegation became majority Democratic.
Despite the strident words about politics, the day was mostly festive for the new House members, more like the first day of school than a usual day in Congress.
Lamborn brought his own worn Bible for his swearing in. It sat on a table in his still undecorated office.
Lamborn and his family have spent the last several days wandering through the Capitol, gazing at the place where former President Lincoln sat when he served in the House and noting other historic landmarks.
For his high school-aged son, the mementoes have made advanced-placement history seem more real. Lamborn said he is working hard to keep his feet on the ground. “I’m trying to keep this in perspective,” he said.
Perlmutter’s office overflowed with people just before he made his way to the Capitol for his early-afternoon swearing-in ceremony.
A wave of family walked into the four-room office, followed by another crush of supporters, including Colorado Democratic Sen. Ken Salazar, who shook hands with Perlmutter’s father.
Later, the Perlmutter family took a photo on the West steps of the Capitol. It will mirror a photo they took on the West steps of Colorado’s Capitol after Perlmutter was elected to the state legislature.
A highlight of the day for Perlmutter was putting his identification card in the slot that allows him to record himself present on the House floor and to cast a vote. He voted three times Thursday afternoon.
“I’m sort of numb,” he said. “It’s been a wonderful day.”
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